Body

Taking an afternoon nap may help lower the risk of a heart attack

You don’t have to tell us twice.

By Anya Truong-George
Great news everyone, not only are power naps great for a quick brain boost, but a new study has suggested they can also help to lower your blood pressure, meaning it can to lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
According to new research, co-author of the study Dr Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece says the results suggest, "Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes."
The new study suggests having a regular one-hour nap a day could have the same benefits for cardiovascular health as lowering salt or alcohol intake. (Image: Getty)
For the study, researchers monitored the blood pressure of 212 participants with high blood pressure over a normal 24-hour day and compared the blood pressure of those who napped in the middle of the day for approximately 49 minutes, with those who hadn't.
The researchers found that the participants who napped during the day had an average systolic blood pressure of 5 mm Hg (millimetre of Mercury, used to measure pressure) lower than those who didn't nap.
This is almost equivalent to taking a low-dose of a low-blood pressure drug, which would usually lower your level by an average of 5 to 7 mm Hg.
This finding is incredibly significant Dr Kallistratos says, as even a drop of blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to ten per cent.
The results are incredibly significant, as even a drop of blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg ca reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to ten per cent. (Image: Getty)
While many people tend to associate cardiovascular diseases with older people, a recent study has shown that the number of young women having heart attacks has risen dramatically over the past 20 years with a third of heart attack patients in the US being identified as women between the ages of 35-54.
In New Zealand, a Kiwi woman is five times more likely to die from a heart disease than breast cancer, showing the importance of protecting the health of your heart.
While the news that naps can be good for you will no doubt be music to the ears of many, Dr Kallistratos doesn't want to take away from the other proven lifestyle changes that can help to lower your blood pressure such as reducing your salt and alcohol intake and exercising.
"We obviously don't want to encourage people to sleep for hours on end during the day, but on the other hand, they shouldn't feel guilty if they can take short nap, given the potential health benefits."